(A new regular column)
Can the Bible fix my life?
By Scott Chandler
“Have you watched the news lately? What a mess!” “My kids won’t listen to me. I have no idea how to be a parent. Why didn’t anyone tell me how to deal with a teenager?” “It seems like I am surrounded by stupid people. Doesn’t anyone have any common sense?” “My husband and I seem to fight all the time. It’s about money usually, but we both get angry so quickly that we can fight about almost anything!”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? Life can be so intimidating and it is so easy to want to give up and just “go with the flow.” And yet going with the flow seems to bring more frustration and a growing feeling that this life is senseless and has no meaning. Who wants to live like that?
I’d like to submit to you that every frustration and problem we see in life has an answer from the Bible! Can you imagine the peace you could experience if you could find the answers you need for everyday life in just one book? One of the best places to start for practical solutions to everyday problems comes from a book that was written 3,000 years ago. The book of Proverbs.
King Solomon, who God gave more wisdom than any other person, begins the book with the basis of all successful living, and he doesn’t mince words! In just the first seven verses, he tells us how we can expect to improve our lives by applying the principles that are taught in Proverbs. After all, using Jesus’ principle of getting the log out of our own eye before we go looking at splinters in others’ eyes is a pretty good way to get started, isn’t it? Let’s spend a few minutes seeing how we can begin to get ourselves straight.
Solomon begins by letting us know what we are going to get out of this book, and what an overview it is! Just reading what he promises for me makes my spine tingle! Verses 2 and 3 say I can know both wisdom and instruction, understand insightful words, and get instruction in how to deal with people! What promises those are, and if you are at all like me, you are probably thinking, “Okay, Lord. Your work is sure cut out for you!”
He then moves on to more benefits of our learning from Proverbs. If we can learn from what God is teaching us, we’ll be able to “to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth” (verse 4). Doesn’t that sound like your kids? The number of times I’ve wondered why my children can’t seem to understand the simplest things is too large to count. But God says that what Proverbs teaches will give the thoughtful parent the ability to teach your children not just what to think but how to think. It is neither practical or realistic to expect any child to agree with you all the time, but a child who has learned knowledge and discretion will be able to talk with you and explain why they may disagree. And, if they have learned these skills, they will peacefully accept their parent’s decisions, even if they don’t go their way. The peace that will pervade your home will amaze you, your children, and your friends!
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But Solomon ties it all together and gives us all the bottom line for improving our lives. The bedrock principle is found in Chapter 1 verse 7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” If we give God the reverence and awe that He deserves, we can know how to fix our lives! On the other hand, Solomon finishes the verse with a stern warning, “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Refusing to apply God’s principles to our lives after we have heard them is a foolish and dangerous thing. The choice is clear.
As we continue looking into Proverbs, we’ll try to identify not only what we need to know to improve ourselves, but how we can be the instrument God uses to make other people’s lives better also.